Regional Optimization of Roadside Turfgrass Seed Mixtures Phase 2: Regional Field Trials and Economic Analysis

Principal Investigator(s):

Eric Watkins, Professor, Horticultural Science


Project summary:

Roadsides in Minnesota account for nearly 100,000 hectares of established vegetation. This vegetation is responsible for preventing erosion and for keeping nutrients and contaminants from reaching ground and surface waters. Current Minnesota Department of Transporatation (MnDOT) specifications for roadside turfgrasses suggest statewide planting of mixtures grouped into five broad categories such as low maintenance turf and high maintenance turf. Based on our communication with county engineers throughout the state, some mixtures appear to be better adapted to particular areas. Our research has shown that public agencies should utilize both sod and seed for these installations depending on the time of the year and project timelines. Additionally, public land managers are faced with making important decisions (What seed should I use? Should I seed or sod? When should I plant?) based on little information about economic ramifications. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to: 1) determine if MnDOT should be specifying turfgrass mixtures based on climatic regions of the state, and if so, to determine what the appropriate turfgrass mixtures are for each region; and 2) quantify the costs associated with the installation of roadside turfgrasses (both seed and sod) so that public land managers can make informed decisions.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2019005
  • Start date: 05/2018
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment, Erosion control